All online-based platforms that mainly retail everyday essentials have experienced a remarkable business growth during the pandemic
Before the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, Chaldal, a leading online shopping platform for household goods, used to have 2,500 orders every day.
The volume of the daily orders multiplied to around 16,000 in April and May due to the nationwide shutdown put in place from March 26 to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
In the current new normal situation, Chaldal on average receives around 6,000 orders per day, which is 140% higher than that of six months back.
Not just Chaldal, all online-based platforms that mainly retail everyday essentials have experienced a remarkable business growth during the pandemic, according to officials at the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB).
Asif Ahnaf, a director at e-CAB, said earlier people used to buy only luxury items from e-Commerce websites, but, since the novel coronavirus pandemic made inroads into the country and markets were closed, consumers have been turning to online platforms for daily essentials.
"The sector grew at 200-300% over the last few months," he said. "Before the pandemic, the sector had a monthly transaction of Tk200 crore, which has now increased to Tk490 crore."
The association has 1,200 member companies, of which only 8% offer essential goods and grocery products.
Besides, there are some 2,000 web-based and 50,000 Facebook-based retailers across the country.
Stakeholders in the sector said after observing the demand for online shopping, many conventional companies are now moving to the e-commerce business.
Conventional chain stores such as Meena Bazaar, Agora and Shwapno have shifted their services to online also.
"Online sales of these retail brands have jumped by 250% over the last few months," said Asif Ahnaf, also chief executive officer of BreakBite, a startup service assistance company.
e-CAB, which used to have 200 new member companies every year, has already got 300 companies in its fold in the first eight months of this year. Of them, 80% were traditional companies.
The pandemic has not only brought changes into personal life by raising safety and hygiene concerns but also worked as a wheel towards e-commerce.
Many people, who had never bought products online, now shop their daily essentials on digital platforms.
The mode of payment has also changed rapidly. The cash on delivery has dropped to 75% from 85-90 % in the pre-Covid period.
Fashion, gadgets retailing companies hit hard
While the business of e-commerce companies selling household goods grew considerably, brands retailing luxury products and gadgets have been going through a tough time in the pandemic.
Of all the e-commerce companies, around 80-85% sell fashion wear and gadgets, which have been impacted badly by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Before the pandemic, around 90% of the daily online orders were for luxury products. But the number of orders has now dropped to 30% only.
Even during the nationwide general holidays that began on March 26, the business of these companies had dropped to 10%, said sources in the industry.
Online food delivery companies have also experienced a massive fall in their daily sales. The sector has recovered just 40% of its business compared to its pre-pandemic situation earlier this year.
Ahmad AD, co-founder and chief executive officer of HungryNaki.com, a leading food delivery company, said it will take three to four more months to recover the remaining 60%.
"Our business has been slowly recovering from the drastic fall as a result of the shutdown of restaurants during the nationwide general holidays," said Ahmad AD.